Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Temple writ large

So the temple is the cosmos writ small. When the priests and the high priest move around the temple performing their sacred duties, they are symbolically moving around the biblical cosmos. This may help explain why the temple was so central to ancient Israel and why its desecration and its destruction by pagan nations were understood as such catastrophic events. The destruction of the temple—first at the hands of Babylon and later at those of Rome—was in a very real sense, the end of the world.

The final vision in the book of Revelation now makes a little more sense. Not only was the temple the biblical cosmos writ small, the biblical cosmos was the temple writ large. In other words, in the world of the Bible the cosmos is God’s house. As Philo put it, “The whole universe must be regarded as the highest and, in truth, the holy temple of God” (Spec. 1.66). As such the biblical cosmos is a sacred place indeed.— The Biblical Cosmos, page 150 (emphasis original)

<idle musing>
The world comes full circle in Revelation. What God intended in the garden gets fulfilled.
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